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World-Weariness and Augustine's Eschatological Ordering of Emotions in enarratio in Psalmum 36

Published inAugustinian Studies, vol. 47, no. 2, p. 201-226
Publication date2016
Abstract

Augustine's homiletical exhortations display a strong eschatological emphasis in his approach to cultivating rightly ordered emotions. According to critics such as Hannah Arendt, Martha Nussbaum, and Thomas Dixon, this orientation risks denigrating the earthly life and its attendant emotions, promoting a crippling resignation to suffering. This paper discusses Augustine's eschatological frame for ordering the emotions through a focused treatment of en. Ps. 36 (particularly the first homily) in conversation with Nussbaum's critique in particular. In en. Ps. 36.1, Augustine deploys eschatological rhetoric to discourage the believer's envious response to a prosperous, profligate neighbor. This entails disposing the believer in weariness toward life's temporal disparities and exhorting the believer to work in love to alleviate suffering with a view to heavenly flourishing. In this sense, a disposition of “world-weariness” works in concert with eschatological hope to rightly order emotion and action in the earthly life.

Keywords
  • Augustine
  • Psalms
  • Emotions
  • Eschatology
  • Moral formation
  • World-weariness
Citation (ISO format)
STEWART-KROEKER, Sarah. World-Weariness and Augustine’s Eschatological Ordering of Emotions in enarratio in Psalmum 36. In: Augustinian Studies, 2016, vol. 47, n° 2, p. 201–226. doi: 10.5840/augstudies20166223
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ISSN of the journal0094-5323
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